For the first time in over 27 years, I will be seeing a long-lost brother and former college roommate, Baron Chase, when I fly to Oakland today. I am ssssooooooooooo looking forward to these next few days.
I’m going in part because I need to make a truly professional recording of my voice to boost my chances of earning any money and making a living with that instrument, and Baron has the equipment, the know-how, and the place to stay for me to do it. I’m still looking through any open door that comes in front of me when it comes to career moves. There’s also the possibility that some crucial “career networking” could take place during this trip. To put it mildly, Baron knows some people who might know some people who might know … well, you get the drift on the “networking” aspect.
It’s better than just sitting home and waiting to see if something really good just suddenly happens. Kind of like the efforts I’m making in getting set up to take some training for a newer computer programming language, so I can get a “real job.” I’m going to see if I can do anything to make something really good happen. But the training setup is still in the works, and there’s time and opportunity to make another move in this game of “career chess.”
This trip to the Bay Area is much more personal, yet still very career-focused. I guess it falls in the category of “risk-taking.” Yeah, I could stay home and spend a few hundred dollars to rent some local studio time to record my voice professionally, but who’s to say some studio engineer I’ve never met before is going to care and give honest input the way I know Baron will.
I’m also going because, well, I haven’t seen Baron in over 27 years, ever since he still lived in Pocatello, Idaho, and he’s about the closest thing to a true brother I’ve ever known outside of my own blood brother, whom we lost when he was 10 years old. And Baron is celebrating his birthday on New Year’s Eve.
I want to usher out a lousy year and start what I pray will be a much better year for me and my family with one whale of a bang. With Baron and his friends in the Bay Area, I know that can happen.
I’ve talked to Baron on the phone more this year than I have the last few years, ever since I was able to find him again through a YouTube video of his friend, Dr. (Daniel) Ryman, playing one of Baron’s compositions on a “keytar.” I contacted Daniel through YouTube, told him that Baron and I used to be college roommates for a semester and were good friends for a few years beyond that and that I’d REALLY like to get back in touch with him again if possible, providing my home phone number. Baron ended up calling me out of the blue one night. We talked for at least an hour and a half, just like nothing had changed … after all those years.
Baron called me up out of the blue again last week, for no real reason that I’m aware of other than to just chat a bit and catch up. And it turned into making plans for me to fly out to the Bay Area to do some voice recording and to spend some time together for the first time since 1984, when he left for San Francisco to make his mark in the music world. He’s done okay for himself that way, when he’s not also fiddling with computers and working on rich people’s pools.
Baron and I … man, we have some memories. He journeyed from Washington, D.C., in 1978, studying to be a diesel mechanic at Idaho State University’s School of Applied Technology, and turned this Idaho country boy on to some serious music years ago — progressive rock, jazz-fusion, funk, you name it — music that I’ve loved and expanded on to this day. He’s helped settle me down and straighten me out through more garbage in my life than I care to remember, and I hope I was at some point able to repay that favor to him in some way. That’s just part of what brothers do.
I’m also hoping very much that I can meet a very good friend of Baron’s, someone who means a lot to Baron, someone who Baron has helped in his own unique way in the last year or two. His name is Lester Chambers. He was in a rock group that was popular in the 1960s, called The Chambers Brothers. They played once on a thing called The Ed Sullivan Show. They wrote a memorable song in the psychedelic times of 1966 called “Time Has Come Today,” heard in many movies like “Coming Home” and “Remember The Titans.”
Meet Lester Chambers. Here (from The Ed Sullivan Show), he’s the one playing the signature cowbell.
Here, Lester’s the one singing lead on the tune “People Get Ready.”
And here, it’s the longer, uncut, psychedelic version of “Time Has Come Today,” in which Lester and his cowbell playing pretty much helped to define a song and a generation.
This is a part of how my brother Baron has helped his friend Lester Chambers lately (look for Baron’s back and his side profile as he plays the bass in this news report) …
Baron informs me that Lester lives just a few houses away from him. This weekend, I will get to meet and shake hands with Lester Chambers, talk with him a bit … maybe quite a bit. Get to know the man, and get a feel for where he’s been in his life. I think there may be a story there, so stay tuned.
But then I will also want to relive times with my brother Baron, going back to the days when he and I would drive (with me doing the driving, Baron didn’t drive all the way from D.C. to Pocatello) to a friend’s house and they’d strap on guitars and just … jam to one long, solid groove.
I’d sit there listening to it all with a grin from ear to ear. Except for one time when we were sitting around in our dorm room in Pocatello, Idaho — Baron on bass, another former roommate of mine, named Bruce, on acoustic guitar. Baron started picking out an old, familiar bass line that sounded familiar to me, and I jumped in with a bit of vocals. I actually sang and he played all the way through the old War tune “Where Was You At?” and I actually did a passable job singing along, with Bruce joining in on guitar where he could. I wonder if Baron remembers that day? Man, those were good times.
Yeah, I’d love to sit through a jam just like Baron did here on drums with his friend, Dr. Ryman, on “keytar” and Baron’s son, Baron, on bass — posing and moving and playing just like his dad, all those years ago, when we were around Baron Jr.’s age. I owe Dr. Ryman a big “THANK YOU!”
If we’re celebrating Baron’s birthday, it’s probably safe to say there will be a jam (maybe like this one from Baron’s 50th birthday celebration a couple of years ago … yes, that’s Mingo Lewis of Santana and Al DiMeola fame on drums)!
I’ll be seein’ ya soon, bro!
- Following up on “Aspirations” (viewfrommiddleclass.wordpress.com)